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Site Significance Testing Report of Site 41BP920 on the 140-Mile-Long Vista Ridge Water Pipeline in Bastrop County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
On behalf of VRRSP Consultants, LLC, and Central Texas Regional Water Supply Corporation (CTRWSC), SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted archaeological significance test excavations at multicomponent site 41BP920 within the proposed alignment of the Vista Ridge Regional Water Supply Project (Vista Ridge) in Bastrop County. The Vista Ridge project will involve construction of an approximately 140-mile-long, 60-inch-diameter water pipeline from north-central San Antonio, Bexar County, to Deanville, Burleson County, Texas. The project will also include three pump station locations in Guadalupe, Bastrop, and Burleson Counties. The majority of the alignment will follow existing utilities and traverse undeveloped, agricultural parcels in rural settings. The area of potential effects (APE) will consist of the proposed centerline alignment and an 85-foot-wide corridor for temporary and permanent construction easements; however, SWCA surveyed a 100-foot-wide corridor to allow for minor shifts in the alignment.
Due to the presence of buried artifacts, including burned rock that suggested the presence of buried cultural features, and temporally diagnostic projectile points, site 41BP920 was recommended for significance testing to determine the site’s eligibility for State Antiquities Landmark (SAL) designation or listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Investigations were done in compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas and the National Historic Preservation Act. Brandon Young, M.A., RPA, served as Principal Investigator under Antiquities Permit No. 7295
Significance test excavations at the site occurred from August 1–6, 2016, with a methodology that integrated hand excavations with mechanical trenching to assess the archaeological potential of 41BP920. Site 41BP920 is a multi-component site with deposits from the Late Archaic to the present on an upland margin landform overlooking a confluence of drainages associated with Wilbarger Creek. The historic assemblage of the site contains highly fragmented glass and metal debris dating from the early twentieth century to the present. The prehistoric assemblage consisted of burned rock, lithic debitage, chipped stone tools, and two projectile point fragments predominantly recovered from the upper 26 centimeters of the profile, but cultural materials did extend up to 60 centimeters below surface. Only one of the projectile points was identified as to type, which was a Late Archaic Lange point. The prehistoric assemblage also includes a cluster of burned rock and thermally altered soil that was designated a feature.
Based on multiple factors, including the shallow depth of the assemblage, the highly fragmented and mixed context of the historic and prehistoric cultural materials, prevalent disturbances, and the sparse quantity of the cultural materials recovered, the site provides insufficient data to substantively and explicitly address specific questions concerning local or regional prehistoric contexts. Based on the considerations of integrity and potential data yield, site 41BP920 is recommended as not eligible for the NRHP or as an SAL. This recommendation pertains only to the portions of the site within the APE; areas of the site that extend beyond the APE have not been evaluated.
Artifacts recovered from testing will be returned to the landowners following analysis; however, all project documentation and photographs generated during investigations at 41BP920 will be curated at the Center for Archaeological Research at The University of Texas in San Antonio in accordance with their standards and protocols.
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